Yanks prospects, and HOF to announce more inductees Wednesday.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Baseball America listed their top 100 prospects list and Yankee fans who have been treated to young stars like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Luis Severino should be happy and anxious for more young players on the come.

Six Yankees’ prospects are part of that top 100.

Since Clint Frazier spent some time in the majors last year, he isn’t even listed.

The six are:

#6 INF Gleyber Torres who, if he doesn’t break camp as the Yanks’ 2B, should be called up very early this season for just that purpose.

#38. OF Estevan Florial, who will probably start at High-A Tampa.

#41. LHP Starter Justus Sheffield, probably ticketed for AAA SWB.

#59. 3B Miguel Andujar who could be the Opening Day 3B.

#77. RHP Albert Abreu who will probably start at AA or AAA.

#81. RHP Chance Adams. Probably AAA bound.

Three former Yankees’ prospects made the list as well. These are prospects traded for Sonny Gray and Giancarlo Stanton.

On Wednesday, the Hall of Fame will announce who the BBWAA has selected as their HOF inductees for this year. They will join Alan Trammell and Jack Morris, who were selected via committee.

So far, with some polling done, it appears these players will get in, having met 75% of the vote:

Chipper Jones
Jim Thome
Vladimir Guerrero
Edgar Martinez
Trevor Hoffman

Close (over 60%) are

Mike Mussina (tracking around 72%)
Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, each around 66%
Curt Schilling, around 60%

Some views of mine: Disappointed in the possible steroid users getting more votes.

And hope Mussina makes it, especially since, as I noted before, you had jerks like the one guy from Cleveland who ONLY voted for two former Indian players (Thome and Omar Vizquel) and no one else.

Cross off a possible landing spot for Jacoby Ellsbury. Although Ellsbury has a no-trade clause, there was hope among Yankees fans that Ellsbury may waive it if dealt to SF, who trains in Arizona and who isn’t far from Oregon, where Ellsbury is from. Of course, how much the Yanks would have to eat as far as that contract is concerned is another matter. Besides, who wants him? And Ellsbury doesn’t want to go anywhere, even if right now he is a 5th OF.

But there was talk of SF, who needed outfielders. Instead SF traded for Andrew McCutchen and today signed Austin Jackson as a free agent. Interesting they went for A-Jax, because Lorenzo Cain is still available.

Advertisements

Yanks sign lefty to minor league deal.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From MLBTR.com (edited):

The Yankees have agreed to a minor-league deal with lefty Wade LeBlanc, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). He’ll receive an invitation to MLB Spring Training and an opt-out opportunity just before the start of the season, per Crasnick, who notes that the deal comes with a potential $1MM base rate of pay in the Majors. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale adds that LeBlanc also has an opt-out on June 15 and would earn a monthly salary of $32K in the minors. …

LeBlanc, 33, engineered a return to the majors after spending a season in Japan in 2015. …  After spending some time as a swingman for the Mariners in 2016, he landed with the Pirates and threw well enough to earn a major-league contract in the following offseason.

Things didn’t go quite as hoped in 2017, as LeBlanc managed only a 4.50 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 in his 68 innings in Pittsburgh. …

As has long been the case, LeBlanc was much more effective last year against righties than when pitching against same-handed batters. It seems he’ll join a camp battle to earn a place as a long man for the Yankees.

The only lefty other than Chapman was Chasen Shreve, so LeBlanc gives Shreve some competition. LeBlanc, 33, was 5-2, 4.50, ERA+ 96 with a save for Pittsburgh last year. For his career, he is 30-35, 4.40, ERA+ 88. He has started 79 games, and relieved in 97.

He actually pitched in one game for the Yanks in 2014. If you remember that, you are better than me.

Also from MLBTR.com:

The Yankees were reportedly willing to part with outfield prospect Clint Frazier in a trade for then-Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole earlier this offseason, but no deal come together between the teams. Although Pittsburgh ended up trading Cole to Houston on Saturday for a four-player package, the Pirates valued Frazier over everyone they got back from the Astros, according to Jim Bowden of The Athletic. However, the Pirates liked the package they got from the Astros better than the offers the Yankees made, including a final pitch from the Bombers that consisted of three prospects, per Bowden (Twitter link).

Quantity over Quality.

Also, it’s reported that the Yanks offered Frazier or Adams, but not both.

And, it’s also reported that Miguel Andujar was a deal-breaker. No surprise since Frazier is blocked by other outfielders, but Andujar really isn’t blocked by any other 3B right now, and Andujar is off the table.

Also interesting is that Adams may be available in the right deal, but Justus Sheffield is off the table (as are Gleyber Torres and Estevan Florial). As for Thairo Estrada, it probably depends on the right deal.

 

 

Weekend passings: HOF Umpire Harvey, broadcaster Jackson.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Hall of Fame Umpire Doug Harvey passed away on Saturday at the age of 87.

The night before, legendary broadcaster Keith Jackson passed away at the age of 89.

 

Astros get Cole. Do Yanks counteract?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Forget about Gerrit Cole.

The Houston Astros traded four players to the Pirates for Cole last night. Do the Yanks now counteract, and how?

The addition of Cole gives the Astros a formidable rotation headed by Keuchel, Verlander and Cole.

Keuchel does become a free agent after 2018 and could be a Yankees target then (of course, he’d have to shave off that hideous beard of his).

But how do the Yanks counteract that now? Can they?

For the time being, Clint Frazier, Chance Adams, Miguel Andujar and anyone else who may have been discussed as trade bait for Cole are still Yankees. That may prove to be a good thing.

There isn’t much space left under the cap that the Yanks have adamantly said they want to stay under. Depending on what numbers you want to go by, probably $16-$20MM.

Do the Yanks want to spend that on one guy or two? How close to that cap do they want to go?

Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn are still on the free agent market, but what is their price and will it drop?

Can the Yanks still make a deal for Michael Fulmer, Patrick Corbin (just agreed to $7.5MM in arbitration), or can they entice the Rays to trade Chris Archer ($6.416MM) within the division? If the Rays are trading Archer within the division, you can imagine what they might want back.

If the Yanks are able to get someone like Corbin at $7.5MM, do they then go after infield insurance in a Jed Lowrie or Eduardo Nunez at $7MM? Do the math and those two additions, a pitcher at $7.5 and the infielder at $7MM and you are so close to that cap with barely any wiggle room.

Some move by Houston. Your move, Yanks. Meanwhile, Boston hasn’t done anything of significance yet. You know they will.

There is still talk of the Yanks waiting for Darvish’s price to drop. Even so, they probably would have to make a deal to shed salary. Ideally, it would be Ellsbury, and the Yanks would accept paying 1/2 his salary, but as has been mentioned before, Ellsbury has a full no-trade and no desire to go anywhere. Shedding 1/2 of Ellsbury’s salary may enable the Yanks to sign Darvish, but no one else.

The postseason chess games continue.

Now that Cole has been dealt, don’t be surprised if Josh Harrison and/or Andrew McCutchen are the next Pirates to go.

This, the Cole deal, could be the domino that warms up a “hot” stove league that has been very cold so far.

I am rooting for my Steelers today, but once again, it looks like the road to any Super Bowl trophy goes through New England. Whether it’s the Steelers or Jaguars up in New England next week, or the NFC team beating New England in the Super Bowl if the Steelers or Jags can’t take out New England in the AFC title game, to be the best, you’d have to beat the best and as of now, the best is still the Patriots.

This will be the seventh consecutive year that the Patriots are in the AFC title game.

As for the rest of the NFL who aren’t Patriots fans (like me), we are all waiting for Brady to finally show his age. Until then….

Yu in or out? And Yanks settle with several.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From MLB Trade Rumors:

After musing recently on a mystery team, Darvish again took to the airwaves today to address the interest of the Yankees. After first suggesting the team had not made him an offer, the veteran righty then tweeted he had received one — but that “the numbers are not correct.” That said, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports (via Twitter) that New York has not, in fact, put together a contract proposal for Darvish. The Yanks have long seemed a lurking but less-than-perfect potential suitor, given the team’s interest in staying below the luxury tax line this year.

 

Also,

The Yankees have knocked out some of their biggest arb cases, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitterlinks). Shortstop Didi Gregorius receives $8.25MM and righty Sonny Gray checks in at $6.5MM. The former had projected to earn $9.0MM while the algorithm was just $100K high on the latter.Backstop Austin Romine will earn $1.1MM, Heyman also tweets, which is also $100K below the projection. Righty Adam Warren and the Yankees have a $3.315MM deal, per Murray (Twitter link). This is Warren’s final season of eligibility before hitting the open market next winter. He’d been projected at $3.1MM. Meanwhile, fellow right-hander Dellin Betances has agreed to a $5.1MM deal, per MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). That’s just $100K more than Betances had sought last year, when he took his case to a hearing that he ultimately lost. But it’s quite a bit more than the $4.4MM he projected to receive after a subpar season in which he played at a $3MM salary.

Meanwhile a couple of guys on other teams settled. Both are free agents after 2018 and if you want an idea of what they may be asking (think higher) in next year’s free agency, here you go. Manny Machado $16MM, and Josh Donaldson $23MM.

Update: The Yanks settled with Chasen Shreve for $805,000. Good to settle and not have to go through acrimonious arbitration.

And…. if you’re still thinking Gerrit Cole trade, Cole settled with Pittsburgh for $6.25 MM.

Did Yanks make Darvish an offer?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Yahoo sports is reporting, through Yanks’ broadcaster Michael Kay, that the Yanks did make a 7 yr./$160MM offer to Yu Darvish with a 48 hour window that Darvish walked away from.

What they DON’T say, is WHEN that offer was made.

I can’t see it happening after the Stanton acquisition.

What I would think happened, is that the Yanks had Stanton on the back burner, didn’t know if they would get him (whether Stanton would waive his no-trade to St. Louis or SF or if another team was hot for him and was agreeable to Stanton where Stanton could have gone there) and would get back to Stanton if Darvish turned them down. Which Darvish did.

Now that Darvish turned them down, they then refocused on Stanton, knowing they had to strike while the iron was hot for Stanton, thus the 48-hour window they gave to Darvish.

But knowing now that Darvish turned them down, the Yanks could now refocus on CC too, hoping to get CC back on a hometown discount with incentives.

In order to do that, to get CC back on that discount, the Yanks needed the Marlins to pick up some of Stanton’s salary, which they are. About $30MM of the $295MM left on it.

So now the Yanks go after & get Stanton, and shortly after, get CC back on a 1-yr., $10MM deal with some incentives.

Do I have any proof of that? No, of course not. But if the Yanks DID make that offer to Darvish, they couldn’t have done it in the past week and still stay under the cap that they are hard-pressed to stay under unless they dump some salary (Ellsbury, Gardner, Robertson, Betances).

I, for one, don’t want them to touch or break up what could be the best bullpen in baseball. Just about everyone in that ‘pen has a better than 10k/9 ratio. Some are in the 13-15K/9 ratio. Ridiculous.

So is this scenario what I described above what happened? Only Cashman and the front office know, and you can think for yourselves whether it may or may not have happened and even if it is plausible.

The Yanks did sign two players yesterday and avoided the arbitration process with them. Hicks for $2.8MM, Kahnle for $1.3 and both came in around what was predicted.

That is good. A couple more to come. You hope everything gets settled amicably and we don’t have the drama that occurred last year between Betances and the front office.

“Hot” Stove League?

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Hot Stove League has been anything but, and we are only a month away from pitchers and catchers. Many top players are still available. The biggest move recently has been Jay Bruce back to the Mets. Nice for Yankees fans, since Bruce was a thorn in the Yanks’ side during that ALDS series with the Indians.

Because of the inaction, I haven’t written much. Hey, nothing to write about.

The Cold Stove is probably so because a lot of previous big-spenders like the Yankees are trying to get under the cap and are out of the market. They want to get under the cap to reset themselves for next year’s killer free agent class.

The Gerrit Cole rumors have apparently died down regarding the Yankees, but have heated up with the Astros to the point a false rumor came out yesterday stating the Astros traded for him. If the Yanks get Cole, they want to do so without giving up Gleyber Torres or Estevan Florial, and apparently the Pirates want one or both. If the Yanks get Cole, they would want the deal focused on Clint Frazier, who is blocked in NY, and other prospects, like Chance Adams and/or Miguel Andujar. But if I’m the Yanks, and I am including Andujar in the deal, then I need an infielder back, and that would be Josh Harrison.

One infielder that would have fit the Yanks well was ex-Yankee Yangervis Solarte, a switch-hitter with pop who could play 2B and 3B. He could have been nice insurance for Torres and/or Andujar, but Solarte was dealt from SD to Toronto.

One baseball passing, Bob “Beetle” Bailey at the age of 75. Bailey played for the Pirates (1962-1966), Dodgers (1967-1968) Expos (an original Expo, too, 1969-1975), Reds (1976-1977), and Red Sox (1977-1978). His last MLB appearance was as a PH in the “Bucky Dent” game. He PH for 3B Jack Brohamer in the seventh inning against Rich “Goose” Gossage and struck out. He never played in a postseason game, not even with those 1976 Reds.

Bailey hit .257 with 189 HR and an OPS+ of 111 in his career. His 162 g. average was .257-16-65. Primarily a 3B, he also played some LF and 1B. He had his best seasons from 1970-1974 with Montreal, and of course had that great nickname.

Lastly, from the NY Post. The Yanks will finally extend the netting in order to protect fans.

The Yankees announced details about the additional protective netting that will be installed at Yankee Stadium in time for Opening Day and will extend far down both the first- and third-base lines.

The netting will be 9 feet high on both dugouts and 8 feet as the net extends toward the foul poles, from Section 011 on the first-base side to Section 029 on the third-base side — essentially to where the stands jut out to parallel the foul lines.

Above the dugout, the netting will be partially retractable to allow for interaction between fans and players during batting practice.

The old netting ended near the on-deck circles, short of the dugouts.

The netting will be in place by the Yankees’ home opener against the Rays on April 2. There also will be protective netting installed at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa by the start of spring training next month.